By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 9/20/2019
Occurred: 9/7/2019
Posted: 9/10/2019
Topics/Keywords: #Camping Page Views: 148
My youngest grandchildren and several other family members head for the woods!

I began taking my kids camping when they were toddlers. So I'm very pleased to see that my daughter, Jennifer, decided to do the same with her kids. This particular trip, their first, was a rather spur-of-the-moment affair—the first I heard of it was a day before we actually left. But, since we camp often and our gear is always ready, that didn't actually stop us from joining the others. We chose a spot my oldest grandson recommended, a spot called Falcon Tank, north of Sedona and south of Flagstaff. It was a beautiful place, miles of forest road with dispersed camping here and there. No toilets so we had to bring our own of those as well. But it was all good!

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The original plan was for us to leave at 4-ish in the afternoon, which makes me nervous because the best spots are usually taken during the day. But after driving for a couple hours, Zach led us down a series of unpaved forest roads to the spot he'd chosen—which, luckily, was available. Still, it was well past midnight before we got the camp set up.

Ella and Lilly are experienced campers and are usually pretty good at staying in the tent when told. However, Ella could smell the toddlers and was desperate to be with them, so I had to keep an eye on her.

But it had been a long day so they curled up and waited for us to invite them to bed.

I woke early, as I seem to do these days. I'm usually up 2 or 3 hours ahead of Keith, who sleeps like I did at his age. So I figured I'd get a few early morning shots of the area.

My son, John, came with his 4WD vehcile and this hammock, which is all he needs to get a good night's sleep.

John D Cilwa

See those water bottles on top of the car? They've now been on 3 camping trips, returning home unused each time. Including this one.

John D Cilwa

#ViewFromTheTent

My grandson, Zach, helped set up a doggie run so we could keep them onleash. This was just in case Ella took it into her head to visit some neighbors who were camping not far from us.

The gray-and-red tent is Keith's and mine. Jenny and the toddlers were in the blue, the white was the kitchen canopy, and John and Zach both slept in hammocks.

Dominic and Gianna are ready to face the day.

Dominic looks like he's having second thoughts.

When Dominic realized he would be allowed to play in the dirt with his trucks, and was allowed to get as dirty as he pleased, that was it. He spent nearly the whole day busy at this activity.

...taking time out for meals, of course.

Dominic asked me to take him for a hike. So we walked around the perimeter of the camp.

Zach decided to gather firewood. He cut this from a tree that had already fallen.

Dominic's next game was to throw dirt on the side of the car. He explained, "I have to get the car dirty so we can go to a car wash and clean it." I thought this was hilarious. His mom explained to me that he had seen that on one of his shows.

In general, Gianna spent most of her time with her tablet. But at one point she noticed three men walking alongside our camp in chamo, carrying hunting rifles. "Hey, everybody!" she called to us. "I just saw Humans!"

Since there was a possibility of rain hitting us in the afternoon and possibly beyond, Zach enhanced his hammock with extra protection.

And that storm was, in fact, moving in.

The little ones love rain (and rain gear) and so were delighted when drops began to splatter.

Dominic's favorite thing was twirling his unbrella.

My grandson Zach, who I also took on his first camping trips when he was Dominic's age of three (and his first cross-country trip when he was only half a year old), really wanted his baby siblings to have the best experience. So he managed to put together a baby zipline! The rope he used was a little too stretchy to hold an adult's weight; but by pulling them along it, Zach was able to treat Dominic and Gianna to their first zipline experiences!

The rain having cleared and with a promise of a really nice sunset, I decided to take a walk down to the cliff edge to watch.

At this point, Zach joined me with his drone.

Kids always find fire fascinating. Why not? It really is the only thing that separates us from the animals.

Dominic loves both dogs but Lilly is more his size.

After sunset, because we'd gotten so little sleep the night before, most of us were looking forward to an early bedtime. But first: A flashlight walk.

A final drink box and then time for bed!